Radiology Needs to be Reinvented

October 20, 2014
Liza Haar

[VIDEO] Radiology is at a crossroads and the first issue to be dealt with is change, says Sanjay Jain, MD, MBA.

“We have to learn to understand what’s going on in the market and adapt those changes,” Sanjay Jain, MD, MBA, said at AHRA 2014.

Change, he said, is the biggest problem facing radiology today. Radiology has seen its fair share of changes in areas like regulation, reimbursement, workforce, and staffing. And the radiology industry needs to learn to adapt, he said.

Decreasing reimbursements, consolidation, and commoditization with private equity and hospitals buying out radiology are the heavy hitting changes radiology is facing today, Jain said. “[Radiologists] are now becoming employees, or retiring early,” he said.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Jain said the perceived job shortage, which has been a major point of concern, has been leveling off. “It’s all about weathering the storm,” he said.

The changes facing radiology, though discouraging, may also encourage new business models and ideas.

In Jain’s session on the need to reinvent radiology at AHRA 2014, he mentions the benefit of “Blue Ocean Strategy” in radiology. Blue Ocean Strategy is a concept that has been historically taught in business schools, Jain said. The premise in radiology is to shift the focus from the current market to creating new markets where there is no competition.

“It’s a strategic concept that requires thinking outside of the box,” Jain said.

Jain is optimistic about the future of radiology, in the long-term. The short-term future looks pretty murky, though, he said.

“We just started Obamacare this year so we haven’t let it mature and see how it’s going to impact radiology,” he said.

With the uncertainty of Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act’s effects on radiology, the field is primed to see more changes in the short-term future.

“We just have to buckle up and manage those changes,” Jain said.  

While tough times may be ahead, Jain urges that radiology is a type of grand central station, with many other specialties coming through radiology for consultation.

“That’s pretty powerful,” Jain said. “[Radiologists] need to harness that power and take advantage of it.”